Defiant Cuomo rejects calls to resign; denies harassment allegations, calls rush to judgement ‘reckless’
On a conference call Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo again rejected mounting calls for his resignation from Democrat and Republican legislators in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
Multiple women have come forward to accuse him of inappropriate behavior. One woman said the governor groped her, according to a report in the Albany Times Union.
“There is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged. Period,” the governor said on the call.
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He also said that politicians who have political motives and are moving quickly “without the facts” are “reckless and dangerous.”
When asked if he has had a romantic relationship with any of the women, he reiterated that there was no inappropriate behavior on his behalf. He also called the allegation in the Albany Times Union “untrue.”
"I did not have a sexual relationship that was inappropriate. Period," said Cuomo.
On Thursday, at least 121 members of the state Assembly and Senate said publicly they believe Cuomo should quit office now, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The count included 65 Democrats and 56 Republicans.
The statement calls the allegations from the women “beyond troubling and describe a disturbing pattern of behavior that also now includes a potentially criminal act.”
According to the statement:
“The gravity of these claims makes it clear to us that the Governor cannot lead the state while faithfully responding to multiple investigations. This is especially true in light of the impending state budget deadline, the need to continue guiding the state through the pandemic, and the fragility of the state’s economic recovery.
The New York State Constitution demands that if the Governor is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor shall act as the Governor until the inability shall cease.’ We call on the Governor to step aside at least until such time that the Attorney General’s investigation is complete. We are confident that the Lieutenant Governor will ably serve the people of New York.”
Long Island's Democratic congressional delegation is also joining the calls for Cuomo to step aside. Rep. Kathleen Rice had done so earlier, but Reps. Tom Suozzi and Gregory Meeks are now on board.
Cuomo has repeatedly said he won’t resign and urged the public to await the outcome of the attorney general's investigation.
On Friday evening, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand became the latest high-profile Democrats to call for Cuomo’s resignation.
It comes as a seventh woman is accusing Gov. Cuomo of sexual harassment. In an op-ed in New York Magazine, a former Capitol reporter alleged several incidents of sexual harassment by the governor, including one where she said he he grabbed her hand tightly, put his arm around her and posed for a picture. The woman alleges that the governor said, "I'm sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady."
AP Wire Services were used in this report.